Spences Bridge is a small rural community in British Columbia with a population of just 150 people. Located between Lytton and Ashcroft, BC Hydro determined it to be a key location for travellers on the adjacent Trans Canada Hwy, and in 2016 installed a DC fast charger.
The addition of the charger was seen by many residents as a vital way to attract visitors to the small town that has a lost a number of businesses and amenities over the years.
But the Spences Bridge Improvement District (SBID) trustees failed to come to terms on a new lease for the site with BC Hydro, and the EV charger was removed on March 25, 2021.
SBID chair Michael Jefferson was the biggest critic of the charging station, saying that if it were to stay BC Hydro would have to comply with a long list of demands. These included constructing a washroom facility with electricity and running water, paving the site (including the driveway up to the adjacent fire hall which was outside their lease), installing a fence around the station, and paying SBID $15 per day to hire someone to maintain the site.
Infrastructure planner for BC Hydro Alec Tsang said they did their best to meet the demands, but the list was too onerous with several of the items outside their mandate.
“They asked us to pave the driveway to the fire hall, which is very much outside our mandate. We can pave at the site, and when we do upgrades to old stations we will pave parking stalls if it’s not done, but we can’t extend beyond the area we would be leasing for the station,” Tsang told The Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal.
To try and get SBID to renew the lease, BC Hydro even offered to install a second EV charger to increase traffic even more, but it was not enough.
The removal marks the first time a local government has decided they didn’t want a BC Hydro EV charger in their community.